Fall At Night

Early this fall we had more than our fair share of rainy days. The moisture in the air along with the cooler nights gives off a lot of mist this time of year, which I love to incorporate into my photos. But I had been having a tough time getting light and mist to some together.

One evening I headed out to a favorite small pond where I have started many a fall season. It is a location that not only gets color well before anywhere else in this area but it also has a really rich pallete of colors.

I waited about 40 minutes for the section of the pond edge that I wanted to photograph to come out of direct sunlight. As I started making images for a panorama I noticed mist starting to rise up from the far side of the pond. The mist wasn't where I was working, but I was pretty excited at the prospect of getting it into my image.

The most intense colors were where two small peninsulas came together. These two points of land jut out into the edge of the pond. They are backed by more water on the far side and then another section of brilliant maples behind the water.

As I worked, two events started on a collision course, the mist was slowly drifting into the spot where I was working, and night was chasing away the last vestiges of light. I made image after image, trying to find the best mixture of mist and color. The exposures were getting longer and longer, and the dreamy look of the mist was getting more compelling by the moment.

Night replaced twilight. It was taking 4 minutes of exposure each time to capture the scene. Finally I had to give up, I couldn't see the image in the view finder any more.

When I got home I made a levels adjustment to lighten up the image and I was amazed at the colors that greeted me. The warm colors of the fall leaves float out of the cool colors of the mist.

Who among us knew that the richest colors of fall come out at night?